Edition: Vol. 05, No. 07
Edition date: July 11, 2012


Important information from the Oregon Building Codes Division to local building departments.

BCD Office Closures

None at this time

BCD Events

None at this time


July 11: Residential and Manufactured Structures Board - canceled

July 17: Rulemaking Hearings - 9:30 a.m. Continuing Education

Rulemaking Hearings - 10 a.m. Radon Mitigation Standards

July 26: Electrical and Elevator Board

August 1: Building Codes Structures Board

August 9: Construction Industry Energy Board

August 16: State Plumbing Board

August 21: Rulemaking Hearings

Statewide Interpretations

None at this time

Jurisdiction Questions or Issues

Email: localjurisdictioncontact.bcd

Aeron Teverbaugh

News Updates - July 11, 2012

Updated State of Oregon building codes for commercial structures

On June 22, 2012, BCD announced that we will move forward with the review and adoption of the Oregon Structural Specialty Code, Oregon Mechanical Specialty Code, and Oregon Energy Efficiency Specialty Code along with the 2012 editions of the respective international codes with an anticipated adoption date of April 1, 2014.

Concurrently, the Office of State Fire Marshal issued a notice that it will be adopting the next edition of the Oregon Fire Code with the same effective date.

We will solicit stakeholder participation in focus groups throughout the fall with an emphasis on aligning more closely with model code provisions in the following areas:

  • Chapter 29 - Plumbing fixtures

  • Appendix SR - Special residence

  • Appendix N - Low-rise residential code

Furthermore, we will develop a statewide alternate method recognizing the 2012 International Building Code, International Mechanical Code, and International Energy Conservation Code for designers who may want to use the new model codes ahead of the mandatory implementation date.

Read our June announcement for more specific information, including anticipated timelines and code change criteria.

If you have questions or need more information, contact Structural Program Chief Richard Rogers at richard.rogers@state.or.us or 503-378-4472.

Specialized inspector program

BCD has completed the fourth course in the House Bill 3462 Specialized Inspector Pilot Program. So far, 98 individuals from 44 jurisdictions have participated in the program. HB 3462 was enacted to provide flexibility to jurisdictions by offering a wider range of inspector certifications. With feedback from the jurisdictions and industry stakeholders, we developed the Specialized Solar, Plumbing, Electrical and Finals Inspector certifications. We are continuing to make improvements to the certification process to address feedback that we received.

One area of focus is the difficulty some inspectors are having meeting the required inspection hours. We are looking at alternatives to work through this concern. One alternative would consist of a live assessment by a qualified inspector of the program participant's inspection skills. Another substitute for the inspection hours could be a live inspection training, which would also contain testing components. We are working toward a solution that will make the certification process more helpful to all building departments.

Another the area of focus is the Specialized Electrical Inspector exam. We will now be reviewing the exam questions and we have increased the time limit of the exam from three hours to four hours. We are preparing a study guide that can help inspectors focus on difficult subjects. In addition, the instructor is on hand and can reach out to participants having trouble.

Looking to the future, possible certifications include a small commercial all finals inspector, a complete residential inspector, or even a simple over-the-counter plan review to meet the jurisdictions' needs. We need your suggestions on how to continue making this program a success. Please take a moment to fill out this short survey by July 18 and help us to develop and offer certifications that are useful to you.

If you have any questions on the course, contact Aeron Teverbaugh at aeron.teverbaugh@state.or.us.

Accessible and adaptable dwelling unit comparison

With the March 1, 2012, adoption of the 2009 International Building Code accessibility provisions, Oregon was introduced to some new concepts and design considerations for dwelling and sleeping units.

In short, the Oregon Structural Specialty Code now addresses:

  • Accessible units (always spelled with a capital "A")
    Accessible units are required to be constructed as fully accessible, meaning all required features are present at first occupancy. Unlike Type A and Type B units, accessible units have no features left as adaptable. Accessible units provide a higher level of accessibility than Type A and Type B units and are mandated in all Group I (as a percentage), in Group R-1 (per Oregon Structural Specialty Code Table 1107.6.1.1), in most Group R-2 congregate living (as a percentage), and in Group R-4 (at least one unit). The technical criteria for accessible dwelling units are identified in Section 1002 of the 2003 International Code Council A117.1 as adopted by the State of Oregon.

  • Type A units
    Type A units have some elements that are constructed accessible and some elements designed to be added or altered when needed.

  • Type B units
    Type B units are constructed to a lower level of accessibility than either an accessible unit or a Type A unit. While a person who uses a wheelchair could maneuver in a Type B unit, the technical requirements are geared more towards people with lesser mobility impairments.

In response to numerous inquiries requesting help to understand the nuances between the three types of sleeping and dwelling units, BCD assembled a white paper, which provides additional commentary and guidance on the scope and application of three types of units and how they interact with the Federal Fair Housing Act provisions.

Oregon Condominium Act and building codes

Q: What is a condominium and how is the code applied to them?
A: Condominium is a legal term used to define ownership. The form of ownership does not have any bearing on how a structure is constructed under the building code.

The Condominium Act does not dictate the manner in which a residential unit is constructed for the purposes of satisfying building code requirements; instead, the act controls the rights and obligations of the unit owners with respect to each other, the common elements, and their respective units.

A condominium may be simply defined as a dwelling unit that the resident owns as opposed to rents. In other words, the condominium owners have individual title to the inside space of their unit. The unit owners may also have an undivided interest in the physical components of the buildings and land, including foundations, bearing walls, shear walls, common walls, floors, ceilings, and other common elements.

The Oregon Condominium Act requires that individual units be described by boundaries and area of square feet in a recorded plat as part of the legal description for the purposes of establishing tax lots. Common elements of the individual units do not constitute real property lines for purposes of applying the building codes. The act also states that a condominium unit is a part of the property that does not include any portion of the land. The only real property lines are those that establish the boundary of the land on which the condominiums are constructed.

In conclusion, dwelling units constructed according to the Oregon Condominium Act are properly assigned the occupancy classification they most nearly resemble as established in either the Oregon Structural Specialty Code or the Oregon Residential Specialty Code. Once the occupancy classification is established, buildings are designed to conform to respective codes. For more information, contact Richard Rogers at 503-378-4472 or richard.rogers@state.or.us.

BCD's online courses

We have two classes available through the Chemeketa Community College eLearn system: the 2010 Oregon Energy Efficiency Specialty Code (OEESC) course and the 2010 Oregon Structural Specialty Code Chapter 11 Accessibility update. You can find out about registration on our website.

As a quick reminder, the 2010 OEESC course will not be available after Sept. 1. Individuals holding the Commercial Building Inspector or Building Plans Examiners certifications were required to take a code-change course covering the 2010 OEESC at some point during the code cycle. If you still need to take this course, you need to register by Aug. 16 and complete it by Sept. 1.

For more information, contact Sherri West, training and public affairs coordinator, at sherri.d.west@state.or.us or 503-373-7509.

Oregon's plug-in electric vehicles charging infrastructure

According to DMV records, Oregon had around 1,200 plug-in electrical vehicles (PEV) registered by the first quarter of 2012. Pike Research projects as many as 35,000 PEVs in Oregon through 2017. The PEV market in Oregon, and North America, is expected to be a mix of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and battery electric vehicles.

While PEV owners like the convenience of being able to charge their vehicles at home, the state's network of public charging stations has grown to 500 since 2009. Most of these are Level 2 (240 volts) charging stations with 11 DC quick-chargers (480 volts) scheduled for installation along I-5, U.S. Route 2, and I-90 during 2012. In addition, the Oregon Department of Transportation is installing another 22 quick chargers in northwest Oregon along the Columbia River Gorge, the coast, Central Oregon, and the Willamette Valley.

West Coast Electric Highway lists all the location of public charging stations in Oregon. Also, the most recent post on the Better Buildings for Oregon blog has a summary of information shared at the EV Road Map 5 conference held in Portland during June 2012.

Published by the State of Oregon Building Codes Division.
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